Home > Reviews > GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST – Rolfe Kent


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A fun rom-com reworking of the classic Scrooge tale, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past stars Matthew McConaughey as Connor Mead, a love ‘em and leave ‘em serial monogamist who, while attempting to stop his younger brother’s wedding, is visited by the ghost of his dead uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas). In life, Wayne was a player like Connor, but in death has seen the error of his ways; now, in attempt to save his younger nephew’s nuptials, Wayne tells Connor that he will be visited by the “ghosts” of girlfriends past, present, and future, who will show him that true love, rather than casual sex, is the way to go.

The film is directed by Mark Waters, co-stars Jennifer Garner, Breckin Meyer, Robert Forster and Anne Archer, and has an original score by Scottish-born composer Rolfe Kent. Kent’s score is pleasant, light and airy, with a gentle romantic sweep that recalls the work of composers such as Alan Silvestri and David Newman, and their work in this genre. He uses a moderately-sized orchestra, a jazz percussion section, light guitars and synths, marimbas and other offbeat chimes, and a generally contemporary vibe to score this modern tale of love and redemption.

Many of the cues are short and to the point, rarely allowing for any conventional thematic development or extended statements, but there are a couple of interesting cues: “Kaiko Shoots Arrow” is an oriental theme played for laughs; “Jenny and Connor Meet and Spar” and “Jenny and Connor/Wedding Sex” are Thomas Newman-style urban pieces with guitars and offbeat percussion; “Uncle Wayne’s Apparition” has a comedic jazzy feel with unusual use of a theremin; “Ghost of Girlfriend Past” and “Ghost of Girlfriend Present” dips their toes into action music territory with low brass chords playing off the mischievous theremin motif; “Leaving Before Dawn” has a pretty, bittersweet piano and woodwind theme; “A Little Honesty” emerges from a quirky plucked electric guitar sequence into something a little more orchestrally meaningful, and so on and so forth.

The best music on album actually comes towards the end, beginning with the extended “Pauly’s Theme”, which features a subtly romantic piano melody accompanied by emotional strings and woodwinds. The trio consisting of “Conjuring the Ghost of Future”, “Graveside Epiphany” and “Connor Believes, But Too Late” creep into the horror realm, with the spooky theremin motif playing some darker, almost Arabic-rhythms and strident string and brass writing, presumably to underscore Connor’s realization of the damage he causes through his womanizing ways; it all ends with the upbeat “Pain Beats Regret”, which uses sleigh bells to give a Christmassy feel that is surely an intentional nod to Dickens, and the lovely, sentimental pair “Best Man Speech” and “Jenny and Connor in the Snow”.

It’s all very undemanding and, for want of a better word, throwaway stuff that we’ve heard a thousand times before accompanying films like this, but it’s never anything less than pleasant, and a fine album who enjoy easy-listening type scores.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Opening Title (0:45)
  • Kaiko Shoots Arrow (0:38)
  • Jenny and Connor Meet and Spar (0:56)
  • Uncle Wayne’s Room (2:09)
  • Uncle Wayne’s Apparition (3:11)
  • Jenny and Connor/Wedding Sex (1:17)
  • Ghost of Girlfriend Past (1:51)
  • The Swings/Young Jenny (3:14)
  • Ignoring Jenny (0:20)
  • Why Woo When We Can Do? (1:23)
  • Leaving Before Dawn (2:13)
  • Bar of Women (0:28)
  • Of Cork and Cake (1:10)
  • A Little Honesty (2:19)
  • Ghost of Girlfriend Present (1:09)
  • Pauly’s Theme (2:43)
  • Rain of Tears (1:28)
  • Conjuring the Ghost of Future (2:36)
  • Panic at the Wrong Wedding (0:35)
  • Graveside Epiphany (3:26)
  • Connor Believes, But Too Late (1:29)
  • Pain Beats Regret (4:03)
  • Best Man Speech (1:31)
  • Jenny and Connor in the Snow (2:35)

Running Time: 43 minutes 29 seconds

Silva Screen SILCD-1295 (2009)

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